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The Wonderland Diaries

The Distant Pull of Remembrance

By 15th May 2012April 21st, 202310 Comments

‘The Distant Pull Of Remembrance’

For once this won’t be a huge diary entry, it is just about a simple, pure picture that is probably one of the most carefree shots I have taken in a very long time. I love it dearly and the scene represents a very personal turning point for both myself and the Wonderland series.

Looking back over the project I always find myself drawn to the pictures that were the most emotional rather than the grandest. I try to break up the highly staged pieces with a return to more intimate moments, or portraits that will hopefully make people reconnect with the personal journey that underpins my work. Usually these pictures come from the most poignant shoot days, when a certain combination of weather, emotion and intensity with my model manage to fuse together and reflect how I felt behind the camera.

‘The Distant Pull of Remembrance’ was one such day, and finally releasing it now after 8 months of waiting feels like a pressure valve slowly being undone. For months I have indulged a darker side with the characters, something I just needed to do and was where I was in my grief. Climbing deeper into my sadness rather than using the pictures as a way out was a process I needed to go through, but one I’ll admit wasn’t always entirely healthy either. It is now three and a half years since mum passed, a week since my 36th birthday and I realise time to look forward rather than back. I need to be present for the people in my life who are still with me in the here and now, rather than always clinging to the past, and in essence that is what this represents.
I want to remember my mother in a positive way, to look back on the beautiful parts and not just the hospital. So I’m trying my hardest to make a conscious change, and in the process physically turning myself and Katie around. Remembrance should mean taking steps forward as well as looking back, so this scene was intended as a metaphor for letting go and embracing light instead. It was shot just after the dawn, with only myself, Katie and my husband Matt. I made the wings and apart from the smoke, nature did the rest. Katie’s body paint was actually mud I mixed with water from the soil at our feet, and our lighting was just the morning sun as it rose steadily over our heads in a perfect arc lighting up the yellow haze. It was simple, happy and reminded me of how things had been in the early days of the project. Sitting here now I feel so much emotion when I look at this picture, even though Katie has her back to us it’s like I am with her and we are the same. As she moves through the next stage of the series, her journey will be about returning to the surface, rather than running away, something I am now trying my very hardest to focus on, and match in the real world with each new day that I face.


Author Kirsty

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Edwin says:

    You have a beautiful mind and your visionary distinction is noted in your art. Stay true, free, and lovely!

  • Noor Sandhu says:

    Hi Kirsty!
    Sitting here in India I have been following this series since the VERY FIRST IMAGE! And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see it take the shape that it has. You are a wonderfully talented person who has inspired me a lot. I look forward to your images and your diary entries even more. In fact, this series has inspired me to do a photo-story of my own!
    I have a query- Does the sequence of the photographs follow a story in the plot? I mean the way you have uploaded the pictures here in the Wonderland gallery, is it the same way they will appear in the book?

  • Lauren says:

    I found your stunning Wonderland through an article on Beautylish and was so excited when I came to your website and realized just how large the collection is! I have been working on a novel that takes place in a fantasy world and with all of things going on in my life right now I’ve been finding it hard to sit down and concentrate lately. The way your photos bring fantasy so vividly to life inspires me to try and do the same with my form of art. Right now I feel like I want to sit and write forever! Each photo reminds me of the fairy world I’ve had in my head since childhood. I know it is still at least half a year away, but I can not wait until your book is published!

  • Ruby says:

    This is definitely one of my favourite photos in your series, absolutely refreshing and gives such a beautiful sense of hope! How how HOW did you make those incredible wings?! What are they made of?

  • Gail Spratley says:

    I looked through all the fantastic photographs on your website. After going through the three pages of photograph, this is the first, and so far the only, one that I have looked at to see the story of its making. I am looking forward to reading about your other images. I believe that I was drawn to this particular photograph because the joy and health of it reached out to me.

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